Happy Beef, Tapa de Morning, ‘pak-sig’–comfort food for recovering souls
The menu offers fare that you turn to when you’re feeling low, like that warm soup you sip slowly at 2 a.m. when you have the snifflesBy Anne A. Jambora |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Fast food gets a makeover at the newly opened comfort-food restaurant named Recovery Food at The Fort. If you’re looking to grab a quick, hearty meal without subjecting your palate to the same old fast-food fare that dots the city, Recovery Food might just be the fix you’ll need.
Owned and operated by the same family that runs Mamou and Mamou Too, the home kitchen steakhouse known for its excellent food and service, Recovery Food offers a menu the owners grew up with and still serve in their homes.
Among athletes or active people, recovery food means the meal you take after a good 10K run or after a grueling workout session. Whether they’re consumed to repair tissues or as a meal, recovery food is always the food you look forward to devouring. That’s mostly because you eat it at a time when you’re seriously, unabashedly hungry.
A quick look at the menu, though, indicates that Recovery Food is far from the healthy food some active people might look for. While they are not exactly as sinful as deep-fried treats, the menu is a list of comfort food you turn to when you’re feeling low, like that warm soup you sip slowly at
2 a.m. when you have the sniffles.
“You need to recover from something—from an illness, a heartache, a hard day’s work. I like the word ‘recovery.’ These are comfort food that will help you recover after a long day at work,” said Malou Fores.
Fores, the gracious host of Mamou who goes out of her way to chat with her guests whenever she’s around, said Recovery Food is an offshoot of the popular restaurant. The menu is simpler, cheaper and warm food is served in 10-15 minutes.
“I don’t believe in a big menu where half of the food there is so-so. I want a small menu that’s really good,” she said.
When the kitchen size is as big as the dining area, you know you’re in a place where people are passionate about food.
A lot of the food is what she used to have for midnight snack when she was young. Happy Beef, for instance, tender beef rice topping with Recovery Food beef rice, is what she used to eat after going disco-dancing. It is Recovery Food’s version of the good old beef pares, tender beef cubes over special beef rice. This is also available in pork and chicken.
There’s also Rau Men, named after her son Raulito, of ramen noodles in peanut-based broth with mild spice. If you love noodles, this should be on your list. Nothing fancy here. You get a nice kick from the mild spice, and the noodles are cooked just right.
“Adobo, paksiw, sinigang are staples in our house. I’m not big on kare-kare so the closest you can have to a peanut sauce would be Rau Men,” she said.
Tapa de Morning is the home recipe, named by Malou’s husband Oye. It is chunks of freshly made tapa topped with an egg over organic garlic rice (red or white rice). You can also opt to have talangka rice with it.
Another interesting entry is Hey Jude’s Pak-Sig, flavorful Sarangani bangus belly cooked in native vinegar topped over organic rice (red or white rice). It’s a seafood medley of paksiw and sisig named after the family’s furniture-maker Jude in Pampanga, where Fores said they first tasted the dish. If you like paksiw and sisig, this version will not disappoint.
Some of the food is inspired by the family’s travels abroad, like Porkqua, Recovery Food’s version of Hong Kong’s pork chop, tender brined pork fillets with organic pechay rice (red or white rice).
For dessert, there’s Turondot with Dulce Gatas, small turon served with dulce de leche dip on the side; and Sagolaman, sago at gulaman. Iced tea here is served in wine bottles. It’s the same iced tea, Fores said, that’s served in Mamou.
“This is quality comfort food. We cannot sacrifice on ingredients. Chicken is chicken. Beef is beef. No extenders. People who love Mamou can expect the same quality service, too. All our guys have tried our food. They know what they’re selling,” Fores said.
Recovery Food manager Mico Montano said they will soon have two serving sizes: Recovery size (regular) and Full Recovery (large).
Recovery Food is open 24/7, located at G/F Crossroads, 32nd Street corner 8th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, The Fort (near Starbucks Drive-Thru).